Manolo's Food Blog Manolo Loves the Food!

December 21, 2010

My Tumbler

Filed under: Crystal,Wine — raincoaster @ 1:10 am

I bet you thought this would be about yet another of my blogs, didn’t you? No, it’s actually a post about dishwashing.

If there is one chore I enjoy less in this world than mucking out the stall of Hannibal Lecter, in the dark, it’d be washing dishes. And why, you ask? Because unlike wedding celebrants, high-spirited toast-givers, and dancing gypsies in bad movies, I never break expensive glassware having fun.

I break expensive glasswear washing it.

And god knows, I love to preserve my expensive glasswear, but there comes a point where simply buying more isn’t possible, and one must actually undertake to clean what one already owns.

“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes, and six months later you have to start all over again.”
Joan Rivers

What then happens is sad, but simple: the glasses snap off at the stem in pure spite at the fact I left them till the hangover was gone (in some cases, gone for so long it could legally be declared dead) before paying them some sanitizing attention. SNAP! Yes, the sound of quality crystal under stress is musical indeed, but it translates directly as, “There goes another $25 you clumsy oaf!”

But there is a solution, my friends. This solution is radical, indeed, but it is so vastly superior to the original not only in problem-solving but in actual stone-cold merit AND aesthetics (judging crystal is like judging figure skating, only less crooked; equal weight on technical merit and aesthetics).

That solution: wine tumblers. Specifically, Riedel Chardonnay Tumblers.

Riedel Chardonnay Tumbler

Riedel Chardonnay Tumbler. Because grown up wine doesn't need a high chair

Although recommended for Chardonnay, its bowl perfect for swirling away the too-oaky mistakes of some long-suffering Californian, I find this very rounded shape superior for any complex, aromatic wine. You can cup it, soothingly, if it’s a Stay-In-With-Merlot-And-Bridget-Jones night. You can swirl it knowingly if it’s a Stay-In-With-Pinot-And-Colin-Firth kind of night. You can get quite tipsy without tipsying it over (so I’ve heard). And it is, even empty, a thing of beauty and a joy forever, although only in the sense that a perfectly made bed in the presence of…oh, never mind where I was going with that. Where’d I put that Pride and Prejudice DVD?


To sum up: Riedel Chardonnay Tumblers=Good. Perfect, in fact. Riedel quality is such that it really is one of the few brands around worth fetishizing. You can find well-shaped, cheap wine tumblers that are great for parties containing large numbers of people you don’t want to treat to your VERY best, but should you even be throwing parties for those people anyway? This particular shape of tumbler is my favorite because it is so versatile and so beautiful; the others, frankly, look a little pinched, a little ungenerous, and a lot less sexy. I like my wineglass like I like my figure: all curves.

I always like to make a good exit

I always know JUST when to make an exit


  1. Eh. Riedel’s been trying to pawn those devils off on wine drinkers for a while. I used to conduct instructive wine tastings for people where I’d use the “proper” Riedel varietal glass, the no-longer-available-Riedel Sommelier judging glass, and an ISO standard wine taster glass. I’d pour the wine into each glass and have people “open” the wine up and taste it in each vessel so that they can see how important the right glass is to tasting. When the “O” series came out, we added the “proper” shaped “O” varietal glass to the tasting, just for fun.

    The conclusion: the “O” series glasses are great for cocktails, and coca cola with your burger. They’re also fabulous individual vases you can use at each place setting, if you wish. The Chardonnay glasses are very large and you warm your wine up very quickly. That means the alcohol is evaporating! So, no.

    Don’t get me wrong, no one hates breaking a Riedel more than me (sometimes, when we got out the truly outrageously priced wines that had been cellared for many years, we’d use the current $150/stem Burgundy glasses…break one of those and you will know the feeling of having broken something). I’ve invested $10 or so in a Riedel microfibre drying cloth–I now wash the glass in hot water and vinegar, rinse it out with hot water, hold the glass by its bowl (never the stem) and dry it immediately, inside first, then outside, then the base. Don’t touch the stem! It’s too easy to twist the stem right off. It takes less than a minute to do each one this way, and the result is that they don’t break anymore.

    Comment by aurumgirl — December 22, 2010 @ 8:45 am

  2. I think I’m going to hold out for a maid. Once I marry Julian Assange, I should be able to have a chorus line of volunteer domestic “Supporters” right?

    I have some Baccarat goblets I DARE not touch. The thought of breaking something that has that many zeros in the price tag terrifies me.

    I totally agree the Chardonnay glasses open up the wine immediately, which is why they’re recommended with Chardonnay, a wine very often done very poorly that desperately needs some breathing room. Of course, it warms up immediately as well, which is not what you want from a white wine. So for white wine, what you want is GOOD Chardonnay or none at all, or Sauv Blanc or something, and you want a stemmed glass. That’s a whole ‘nother post.

    And don’t get me STARTED on those stubby little Martini “tumblers.” The horror! THE HORROR!

    Comment by raincoaster — December 22, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

  3. What you might try for the warming up thing is some of the “whiskey” stones. They do not keep whiskey cold enough to sub for ice but might work nicely to help along a chilled wine.

    Comment by Erik Nabler — December 22, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

  4. Oh, now that is a SMART idea! And I was just about to do a post about Whiskey Stones, actually. And those artificial ice objects generally. Hmmm, I’m all for creative ways to use drinking accouterments.

    Comment by raincoaster — December 22, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

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